The long wait finally came to an end for 16-year-old Niklas Krütten last weekend. The junior racing driver got the 2019 motorsport season started with the Formula 4 UAE at Dubai Autodrome. He was back in the cockpit at BWT Mücke Motorsport for his first races of the year. His final appearance for the Berlin-based team was perfect preparation for the challenges ahead in the German and Italian Formula 4.
He came for more than just blowing off the cobwebs from the long winter break in the weekend’s four races. From the first practice he showed his form by posting the fastest lap times. Qualifying, though, did not go according to plan with P9 on the grid, but he fought back during the four 30-minute races, charging up through the field with impressive pace.
He moved up into P2 in the first race. However, the close-fought scraps on his way to the top resulted in a time penalty for disregarding track limits, dropping him down into fifth place as a result. He secured a win and a second place in the two subsequent races. In the final round, he produced another perfect result by charging up the field from last to first place. Unfortunately, the joy at his success was short-lived.
Krütten’s results in races three and four were declared null and void, as BWT Mücke Motorsport were given wrong information by the organisers. He and his outfit had been told that for these rounds, they could run used tyres from practice following safety concerns about a set of tyres that were completely shot after qualifying. The officials withdrew their permission retrospectively, meaning that only his two results from the first day of the meeting and his four fastest race laps were allowed to stand.
The ADAC Sports Foundation protégé has got his second formula racing season off to a very successful start with this trip to the United Arab Emirates and the results he achieved. He will be busy testing with his new team, Van Amersfoort Racing, over the next few weeks leading up to the ADAC Formula 4 season opener. The first races of the year will take place at Oschersleben, 26th – 28th April.
Three questions for Niklas Krütten
Niklas, things finally got underway again for you after the long break. What did you do to prepare?
I worked mainly on my fitness, since testing is not possible during the winter months. That meant a lot of jogging and plenty of sessions in the gym to lay the foundations for the long season ahead where endurance and strength are concerned. However, I was not completely inactive when it comes to driving. I had a few sessions in a shifter kart, which helps train the reflexes. We decided on short notice to include the weekend in the Formula 4 UAE with BWT Mücke Motorsport in my schedule, as otherwise, I would have had almost six months without any racing.
Your races were successful and turbulent in practically equal measure.
I immediately felt very good in the car and was very confident. I straight away felt experience gained in my first season coming to the fore. I was among the front-runners right from the first practice session. Unfortunately, we chose the wrong strategy in qualifying. A sandstorm and light rain made track conditions and setup extremely difficult. My setup was altogether hopeless, and, unfortunately, caused me to ruin a set of tyres, but then again, things went much better in the races. I was very pleased with my pace. My subsequent disqualification was unfortunate, but still, my focus this weekend was on getting in some practice and learning.
Dubai was your last outing for BWT Mücke Motorsport. You are about to embark on a fresh chapter in your career…
It was nice to say goodbye to the team with a win. I’ve had a great time at Mücke. They do a terrific job, and I learned a lot, but I’m now facing a fresh challenge at Van Amersfoort Racing. I’ll be with the team in the Netherlands during the week following Dubai. We’ve still got a few days testing before the first race in Oschersleben in order to have everything sorted out to the last detail. My goal this year is to be a title contender in both the German and Italian Formula 4.